Closing the Loop: Applying Data-Informed Insights

March 23, 2022 Nikki Kowbel

Assessment is more than pulling together vast amounts of data and running standard reports on a regular basis. It’s about taking the information you gather and actually doing something with it. Assessment should be a driver of continuous improvement, but for this to happen, you need to dig into the data and act on what it’s telling you.

Be Honest

Accurate, meaningful assessment requires your institution to be really honest about how students are performing so that you can determine what changes need to be made to improve the learning experience – and then actually make them.

Mind the Gap

When you’re reviewing the data, don’t just look for trends – assessment metrics can also help you identify gaps in the learning experience. Curriculum mapping makes it easy to spot when learning outcomes aren’t being covered (or are being covered in a way that’s not working) and make changes to the instruction plan.

Spread the Word

If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? Your assessment results should be “heard” across campus. Revisit the data regularly and find a consistent way to present your findings that is easy to understand and act on. Share this data analysis to multiple groups of faculty across campus, and do it often.

There are a lot of variables when it comes to student learning, which can make measurement and analysis difficult. Even when you have clearly defined your learning outcomes and established what you're trying to measure, it can be challenging to pinpoint what’s working and what’s not. But with regular review and consistent conversations, you can create a data-informed culture on your campus and make informed decisions that drive real change.

Check out Assessment Foundations: Making Data-Informed Decisions for more tips.

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